But, if you think about it, isnt that the Linux way? Linux is supported by a community, not by specific hardware vendors, and the desktop cant break that model. The result is to truly be Linux and not a disappointing Windows want-to-be.
While this may change eventually, initially there is simply too little volume, too little experience, and too many possible software choices to allow this to work profitably any other way.
KDE vs. GNOME: Is One Better?
Are You In Violation of GPL v3?
Linux Desktop: Seven Leading Applications
Choosing a Linux Distro for Your Business
Dell Needs to Make a Profit
The typical Linux desktop, or server, purchaser has a tendency to buy very little and look for products that have little or no margin. If that becomes the case here then it is in Dells best interest that the Linux effort fails because they wont be able to stand the related margin erosion. The more Linux they sell the worse that erosion will be, and their defensive move will to make it as difficult as possible to get systems.
If you want their support you have to look for ways to ensure Dells margins. Because you will be buying very little software from Dell, you should be looking at mid-priced systems and closer to retail prices if you want them to eventually expand this coverage and need other large vendors to follow Dells lead. Once other vendors enter, you can competitively bid again, but until then if you can find ways to give Dell more of your high margin business and connect it to the Linux purchase youll be creating a sustaining model, and not one that is short-lived and likely to fail out of the box.
If you truly believe Linux will save you a lot of money you have to help make the solution financially attractive to Dell so they continue to provide and enhance it. They are effectively learning by doing this initially, and will be incurring higher costs themselves as a result. If they too can show reasonable profitability even during these relatively inefficient times they are more likely to gain the internal support needed to fully fund the effort and make it strategic.